Russian Orthodox Metropolitan hopes that Pope Francis will not support Greek Catholics


Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk of the Russian Orthodox Church expressed the hope that Pope Francis will continue the policy of rapprochement with the Orthodox Church and will not support, as he calls it, the expansion of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics, the site of Pravoslavie i Mir reports.

“The union is the most painful topic in the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, in relations between the Orthodox and the Catholics. If the pope will support the union, then, of course, it will bring no good," he said in a program on the channel Rosiya-1.

One of Pope Francis’s teachers was a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest, and the pope belongs to the Jesuit Order.

Metropolitan Hilarion noted that the Orthodox often had a suspicious attitude toward the Jesuits.

“It is believed that a Jesuit is someone who on the outside is one person, but inside someone else, says one thing, but means something else. This idea has been confirmed in real life by Jesuits and through our experience with such representatives,” said Metropolitan Hilarion.

He also said that the head of the Catholic Church must take care of the whole church and its relations with other churches, not protect the interests of a particular order or region.

“I hope that the positive momentum that we have had in our relations with the Roman Catholic Church under Pope Benedict XVI will continue under Pope Francis,” summed up the hierarch.

Well that ought to go over well.

Can someone who is Eastern Catholic explain why the Orthodox church sees the Eastern Catholics as the major obstacle to reunification? I’ve heard this before, but I don’t really understand it. (I’m Latin.)

The Russian Orthodox Church and Russian politics are tightly entwined. I pray for the day when all come home.

I believe it is because under Communist rule the Catholic Churches were taken forcibly and given to the Russian Orthodox Church, and now after the fall of communism the Eastern Catholics are having success reclaiming their rightful property. However, the Russian Orthodox Church still considers them theirs…

I’m sure there is more to it than that. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

I did know about the property disputes. Is that all this is about, or are there additional reasons?

Quite a few of them to my understanding. There are some old threads on the subject that contain some good info. Unfortunately, there are not as many Orthodox Christians on CAF as there used to be to provide insight on this or similar topics.

There’s another thread on the same topic in Eastern Catholicism, perhaps they can be merged. Here is the reply I gave there:

I was going to post this story yesterday but I was too angry. The new Pope hadn’t even been invested and inaugurated and the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy in the form of Metropolitan Hilarion was off and running taking shots at the Ukrainian Catholic Church and telling the Pope how to deal with it. Unbelievable.

Met. Hilarion should worry about the attendance figures in his own church; the fact is attendance in Ukrainian Catholic Churches makes Hilarion’s Church’s attendance look bad, and that, even though in Russia the Russian Orthodox Church is officially supported by Putin’s state, and in Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox Church (disingenuously named “The Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate”) is supported by the current thug ruling Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, as it is in Belarus with the thug Lukashenko who also gets the Russian Orthodox Patriarch’s seal of approval.

The Ukrainian Catholic Church receives no government support in Ukraine. I note not too long ago the same Met. Hilarion asserted Stalin’s liquidation of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and forcible annexation into the Russian Orthodox Church in 1946 was basically right. And this, while the Head of his own church, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill is currently praising Hugo Chavez. Yes, Hugo Chavez = good, Ukrainian Catholics = bad, in the ROC hierarchy’s world.

What expansion does Met. Hilarion complain of? Stalin deported hundreds of thousand of Ukrainian Catholics to other parts of Ukraine and the Soviet Union, and Met. Hilarion thinks if their descendants today wish to build Ukrainian Catholic Churches to worship in this is “expansion”? The Russian Orthodox Church is not forbidden anywhere in Ukraine, or in Europe for that matter from building houses of worship, and rightly so. But Met. Hilarion is terrified of Ukrainian Catholics worshiping in their own country.

His church’s hierarchy in Russia is tied in with Putin’s KGB state, and in Ukraine his church is tied in with the bandit regime of Yanukovych. With all the problems in the post-communist world - corruption, no rule of law, lack of morality in political leaders and police/militia/secret police - Hilarion feels it most important to worry about Ukrainian Catholics?

Metropolitan Hilarion should ask the head of his own Church what he was doing for the Soviet Kremlin as the Russian Orthodox prelate named to represent the ROC back in 1972 to the World Council of Churches, while Ukrainian Catholics in the Soviet Union at the time had to practice their faith illegally and risk being arrested. According to The Times in England, Patriarch Kirill’s KGB codename back then during the Brezhnev era was “Mikhailov”.

Let Hilarion worry about the state of Russia’s moral affairs from Moscow, and leave Ukraine alone. It presents no threat to him, but his comments only make life worse for believers in Christ and the Church.

They, Eastern Catholics, are not the major obstacles. The Orthodox world itself is divided with the Russian Orthodox hierarchy not really wishing to put the Ecumenical Patriarch as number one in primacy. Politics plays a major role, especially in intra-Orthodox infighting.

I’m Ukrainian Catholic. The second largest Orthodox country on earth is Ukraine, but it’s only canonically recognized orthodox church, the inaptly named “Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate” is completely subservient to Moscow; hence it should more aptly be called the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Up until this year, this Church was forbidden from even doing Liturgies in the Ukrainian language because this church is not just a religious tool but a tool, in my opinion, of Russian cultural imperialism. Even now in this Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the liturgy is only allowed in Ukrainian in western Ukraine.

Ukraine, unlike smaller majorly Orthodox nations like Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece cannot even have its own autocephalous independent church because Moscow forbids this.

The largest Orthodox Church in Ukraine is the noncanonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyivan Patriarchate. It is not canonical because Moscow has basically disallowed Constantinople from recognizing it. It is the largest Church because believers don’t wish to go to liturgy to the officially sanctioned Moscow Orthodox Church and hear lessons on the Russian language, czars, culture and why Ukraine should not join the West but be eternally tied to Russia and whoever is the political leader of Russia. People go to church to worship God.

The Ukrainian Catholic Church (some six million souls) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyivan Patriarchate (some fourteen million) get along fine. The sacraments are recognized. Power politics is right now the major obstacle, and not necessarily Catholic/Orthodox but Orthodox/Orthodox.

Exactly. It was tied completely to the Tsar in Tsarist times. The post-Sergian ROC was tied into the Soviet Kremlin. Today, it is tied into to Putin’s Kremlin, very unfortunately, but at the wish of its hierarchy but maybe not all the laity.

No, property issues were not and are not now any major issue. It is more like the Ukrainian Catholics for instance wishing to build one Ukrainian Catholic church in the Odesa province of Ukraine but having the Orthodox hierarchy, which is loyal to Moscow and which is tied in with the local government, saying absolutely no. Meanwhile, the local government allows completely Mormons, Adventists, etc to build mega churches. Go figure.

I find the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church to be irritating. Of all of the Orthodox branches they are the most pushy and cantankerous.

They can be so shrill.

So there’s infighting within the Orthodox? :eek:

I don’t know what the Russian Orthodox Metropolitan is smoking, but there is no way Pope Francis I will not support the Uniate Church over the Orthodox.
As for any chance of unification, not very much because of opposition by the Russians. As for their feelings about the present Pope being a Jesuit; never forget that the Ukrainian Uniate Church was started around the 1500’s by Jesuit missionaries to the Ukraine. The Russians still have never forgiven the RCC for that…and in every discussion of “talks” they bring up the RCC’s missionary activities in Russian territory, as if it were still a wide spread thing.
It is known that when the Soviets controlled Russia after WWII, the KGB had many secret agents enter the Russian Orthodox priesthood in an attempt to spy on their believers and destroy the Church from within. It is also suspected that a number of these KGB priests were elevated in rank over the years. Since the demise of the Soviets, I wonder how many of these quasi-false clergymen are still active in their church, and could this be one of the reasons for the ROC’s anti-West stance?

This article in tone is nothing like the one cited by the OP.

I think that Metropolitan Hilarion is signaling he is open to more talks on reunification (the russians are the most opposed to primacy, but they are our main ally in saying that Orthodox IV Constantinople that condemned the filioque is not ecumenical). However, he expects that there will be no support of Greek Catholics who have acquired Orthodox buildings.

What shocked me was, “When he was an archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio regularly visited an orthodox cathedral on Christmas Eve, bishop John of Caracas and South America, whose chair is in Buenos Aires, told the Kommersant…”

Was he attending Orthodox Divine Liturgy instead of Midnight Mass?

This man can reunite us.

Also, it appears that initial reports were mistaken. His inaugural mass was the first time EVER that the Patriarch of Constantinople attended.

Some commentary on the situation.

That article is from 4 days ago, so obviously it isn’t the same situation or context.

If the article is quoting the Metropolitan correct, in particular his statements on the Jesuits, then the difference in tone is not particularly meaningful.

Jason, what do you make of the ROC situation in Rome as opposed to Russia? I 've read a few comments by the Patriarch in relation to above. Possibly the same one as above. It seems so different than the ROC/Catholic relations in Rome. I believe its just separation and love. The talk of poaching converts and moratorium on Catholic’s, minor-religion and the Pope not allowed to come and go. Prohibits and togetherness and love to correctly grow through personal interaction and understanding. In other words, we can all do better, but they have no room to talk.

The Jesuits I don’t worry about. That’s a blessing. Too much speculation with issues as mentioned above and with the JP-II era with the S of J. Probably shouldn’t have even mentioned that. :smiley:

KyivAndrew, thank you for responding to my question and for providing such detailed information! :slight_smile: I am beginning to understand this complicated situation now.

As for the SJ during the JP2 era and all that comes with it, no I think you should mention it. Others may disagree about the need to acknowledge such things, but there are and have been legitimate problems and it isn’t because one or two here and there went off the reservation. Only a few here and there losing it does not create the world wide reputation that has developed. Pretending it hasn’t happened only makes us look like we deliberately avoid addressing our faults as Catholics in my opinion.

As for the rest, it is hard to say. Russia seems to have zero problem evangelizing outside of its own borders, otherwise we wouldn’t have ROCOR. Local relations between Christians are often much better, and sometimes worse, then the relations between the leaders of Christian groups. With the Russian Orthodox, national politics always seems to come into play for reasons I can only speculate.

The fastest wsy to get Krill to believe in the univeral sovereign supreme and immediate jurisdiction of the papacy is to offer him the job.

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